Year 2017 was my most challenging year. I may say it was the year I had my worst heartbreak, my most financially trying year, and the year where I came to terms with my spirituality.
It was this place in time where I felt God taking me in different directions. Only to make me see which road I should be taking all along. The journey was not the thing that tried my soul. The thing that challenged me is seeing God’s hand in it and yet finding myself resisting.
In this Epiphany Sunday, three magi were sent by King Herod to diligently look for the child. They were guided by a star, the one that shined the brightest that night. They were overjoyed seeing the star. Overjoyed was the word used in the Gospel of Matthew. The word left me ashamed. There I was, plenty of times last year, finding the brightest star in the darkness of my life; yet I resisted. I told myself I am just being honest to know that the road being given me will require more from me. And that was a great discomfort. To let go of the pain I am in, of the worldliness of my life, of materialism and of the chaos these things managed to create in me. Giving them all up, meant being stripped of a life I became accustomed to and it also meant relying on God more and I am not yet ready. And there lies the greatest tragedy. I no longer cared what God wants. My calloused soul wanted to just give up my organizations in Church and just live my life the way I wanted it. I felt the tug-of-war, the whole confusion but of all the feelings that troubled me was FEAR. I feared that if I choose my own way, I will lose sight of who I am and even of God. I felt like King Herod; not wanting to give up my kingship, threatened to allow someone to take control, to take over a kingdom he has already built.
Today marks Neo Jeremiah’s 17th anniversary. I realized that half of my life I am a member of this group though not as active in its first ten years. And this leaves me awestruck-that once, last year, I wanted to quit on them when I only returned to this group last March – and now finding myself writing my reflection and in time for its anniversary. And yes, I finally allowed God to intervene and He is too amazing not to allow me to quit, that in His goodness, I am still sharing His wonderful love for me; proud and damaged I may be; through this group.
“And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed for their country in another way.” Mt. 2:12
Truly, our journey in searching and finding Christ in our lives, never guarantee a smooth one. It is a journey that will constantly ask you to “choose another way’. The unpopular, the rough road-the-one less travelled. You find yourself not void of life’s trials and challenges, but you will be amazed how strong you have been in overcoming it. You have found yourself, not asking the Lord to take it all away, but surprisingly, allowing Him to take control to the point of asking, what do you want me to do Lord. And you welcome His offer of entrusting your life to Him; to offer to Him what you are holding on to. Just like how it was when the three magi offered their gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh as soon as they have found the newborn Christ; I pray that we too find the strength to let go of the things that has kept us in following Him and seeing the Lord in the world, in your life and in each other. What is it you are keeping in your hands now and finding it difficult to just give to the Lord? I pray you will find the strength in the Lord to offer and give them up. For to find Christ in our lives meant change and change requires sacrifice, of offering parts of ourselves, precious parts we dearly hold, so that in the end, we, in turn, become a beautiful offering to the Lord.
Oh Lord, thank you for another year and another year to celebrate Neo Jeremiah’s beginning. Thank you, for in your goodness you have sent priests and nuns to allow the team to survive all these years, for all the members, who have become families to us, to the ones whom you have called before us and for all the members that have come and gone and to those that has stayed and has continuously kept the fire aflame in sharing their love for Your word. All praise and thanksgiving to you Oh God for in your magical love and awesome wisdom you have guided the team in its seventeenth year. To You, Oh Lord, be all the glory, praise and thanksgiving! Amen.
Source: Neo Jeremiah Voice of the Young Prophet January 7, 2018 issue.